Baby Turtle Makes a Break for the Water!

Tiny painted turtles leave their ground-based nests in March and April, after spending the winter underground. This hatchling has just emerged from a nest near Beaver Lake - she must hurry to reach safety before predators find her. Please report all turtle observations to HAT at 250 995 2428 to help save this endangered species.




Calling all Citizen Scientists - Check your boards and roads!

Spring is here: the wildflower meadows are getting ready to burst, and the songbirds are trilling with all their might. This is when the Sharp-tailed Snake is most active, seeking out meals of molluscs when the ground is wet, but warming.  Western Painted Turtles are waking too.  Young turtles, which have been resting in their nest over the winter, are emerging to travel to nearby lakes and wetlands where they will grow.

For Habitat & Snake Stewards now is the most important time of year to check your boards.  The Sharp-tailed Snake is famously elusive, but early spring is your best hope of finding one these small, harmless, and critically endangered snakes. While checking your boards, please bring a camera if you can, and remember not to disturb natural cover.  If you are fortunate enough to find a snake, take some pictures and send them to HAT!

Sharp-tailed Snake, photo by Moralea Milne

For everyone on the roads, please watch for Western Painted Turtles – young and old.  The young turtles are especially difficult to see. Slow moving (they are turtles), and only about the size of a quarter, it’s extremely easy to accidently squish the young turtles.

Photo by Christian Engelstoft

It is even more important to watch for adults, which can be roads this time of year.  They are easier to see, at about the size of a dinner plate, but not whole lot faster.  Turtles take a long time to mature, and if a lake population loses just one breeding female a year, even a healthy population of turtles can be quickly decimated.   If you see any turtles on the road, please take pictures and let the HAT office know.

Which brings us to slugs.  Lots of slugs are active this time of year, as my garden can attest (no Sharp-tailed Snakes in my garden unfortunately), but what about the Blue-grey Taildropper?  Little is known about the spring habits of this small, endangered, blue-grey slug that lives in the leaf-litter on the forest floor.  When the Blue-grey Taildropper is spotted (a rare occurrence at the best of times), it is usually in the late fall or early winter.  However, this may be because that’s when biologists are looking for the slug.  If you have slug boards out, please check them, and send us photos of any small, blue-ish slugs you find.

Blue-grey Taildropper, photo by Kristiina Ovaska

While these endangered species are difficult to find, citizen scientists have, and continue, to contribute important knowledge that can help us save these species.  Even if you don’t find an endangered species in your yard or park, it’s a great excuse to get outside and enjoy the spring air.

-Adam Taylor


HAT is volunteers like Gord

About two years ago, Gord Warrenchuk figured he’d earned enough money in his life. Instead of ending his career as a computer database specialist, however, he just started doing it for free. “I really like my job,” he said at his home office in James Bay. Doing it as a volunteer lets him do what he loves without the bureaucracy that came with much of his paid work. Gord has created a database for HAT's landowner contacts throughout the region so that we can keep in touch with our Habitat Stewards. Other regional land trusts are working with Gord to use the same database for their outreach efforts. Thanks Gord!



Employment Opportunity at HAT

Currently there are no employment opportunities with HAT...

...but that doesn't mean there isn't a way for you to get your feet on the land and your hands in the earth! With a staff of 5, HAT is always looking for new volunteers to help with conservation, monitoring, counting species at risk, tabling for events, and helping out around the office, and it would be our pleasure to get to know you. If you're interested, take a look at our Volunteering page and sign up as a volunteer. You can also stay up to date on what HAT is working on by reading the HAT blog, and you can sign up for HAT's e-newsletter, The Fern (sign-up form is on the left), to get South Island conservation stories, news, and events right in your inbox.

As our Habitat Management Coordinator, Wendy, has been known to say: you heal yourself when you participate in healing the land. Join the HAT community as a volunteer and work in relationship with where you live. 

Join us for some great events, and keep your eyes on this page for any updates.


Gala Dinner sold out & map

We pleased to announce that the Gala Dinner is sold ou, though we wish more of you could join us for the evening.

For those who have reserved seats for the evening, we look forward to seeing at 6:00pm at the Fireside Grill at 4509 West Saanich Rd tomorrow (March 10th).  See below for a map to the Fireside, and look for the large Garry oaks as you drive up West Saanich.

Thank you once again to our sponsors, The Pinch Group at Raymond James, and BMO Harris Private Banking, and to the local businesses that have donated items for the silent auction.


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